The world is generating a humongous amount of data and it is bursting at all the seams. In fact, 90% of the data that we have today has been generated in the past two years alone. To give it a number, every day 2.5 Quintillion bytes of data is created. Isn’t it difficult to envision how much 2.5 Quintillion bytes are? Now imagine that this data is stored in Blue Ray discs; then it would take 10 million of such disks. Sill not able to imagine the size of data? Then visualize that if those discs were stacked one on top of the other, then they would be as much as the size of four Eiffel towers (Source). Isn’t it easier to imagine what you are dealing with, when it is presented in a visual format?
Companies are actively collecting, organizing, storing, and analyzing data from hundreds of online and offline sources, and the volume is increasing exponentially. But this data can be of any help only if it can be used quickly to make strategic business decisions. It has now become essential to make use of the data faster in order to achieve competitive advantage, and this is where data visualization comes in.
Data visualization enables business users at any level to understand data and uses it to optimize operations. Here are the top 10 benefits of data visualization for organizations:
- It compresses vast quantities of data and presents it in usable bites
As described in the intro, the volume of data is just too much to handle. Businesses are sinking under the pressure of data flooding into their systems. Data visualization makes the vast volume of data appear easy to consume in bite-sized chunks. It integrates and merges data from various sources and gives a complete and simpler picture of what is happening across the business.
- It ensures data democratization within the organization
With the use of data visualization tools, companies can make data available to all the people in the organization. It’s no more the privilege of the top management to look at data and draw inferences. Now, even the sales person standing on the shop floor can look at data and come up with important insights on how to make improvements and minimize losses.
- It highlights connections that are difficult to see in numbers and tables
Data visualization builds connections between multi-dimensional data sets and illuminates new ways to interpret data through rich illustrations. This was previously not so simple. Data visualization tools allow integration and merging of data in such a way that they speak in a similar fashion and hence it becomes easier to draw unique connections.
- It makes decision-making faster
A survey by Aberdeen Group finds that managers in organizations that use visual data discovery tools are 28 percent more likely to find timely information than those who rely solely on managed reporting and dashboards. With the use of data visualization tools the decision makers in the organization can keep a finger on the pulse and identify changing trends in markets or consumer behavior with greater agility. Rather than waiting for reports generated by the IT teams, they can use the data visualization tools to get real-time insights and make quick everyday decisions.
- It gives the right information to the right people
Everybody is not a data scientist in an organization. They don’t know how to utilize complex data. Data visualization empowers everybody across the organization and gives them the power to utilize their business expertise to find data patterns and answer questions that haven’t even entered their minds yet. Also, a single tool can generate different dashboards for different teams or individuals, so that they get access to only that part of the data that is useful for them.
- It enables analysis of relationships and patterns between business units or divisions
Till now, different business units operated in their own worlds and correlations between the functioning of one division on the other were hard to catch. With data visualization, businesses can get a multi-faceted view of the entire organization and pinpoint exactly how every single decision impacts the other departments or units.
- One type of data can be layered on top of another to find new correlations
A cool feature of data visualization is that it can layer seemingly disconnected data sets graphically and in doing so generate interesting insights that nobody ever thought of before. Such correlations are hard to come by and can become a company’s competitive differentiator.
- It eases the process of interacting with data
Unlike Excel sheets that are tedious and cumbersome to handle, users can play with the visualizations and see what results can be achieved with each tweak. They can simply drag, select and click on various options or filters on the user-friendly tool to generate new visual graphics that can brighten the path for newer insights.
- It reduces burden on the IT department
According to the survey by Aberdeen Group, 48 percent of business intelligence users at companies that use visual data discovery are able to find the information they need without the help of IT staff all or most of the time. Self-service data visualization capabilities made available to different business divisions and departments can significantly reduce the burden on IT staff for generating reports or insights.
- It creates a data-driven culture in the organization
Till now companies only talked about implementing a data-driven culture, but only with the advent of data visualization tools has it become possible to achieve it in the true sense. As data and insights become easily available to even the lowest rung of the organization, everybody can make practical decisions that rely on accurate data.
Data visualization is the need of the hour. It can help in making data accessible across the business and can increase adoption of the data-driven way of thinking. The complexity of earlier analytics systems made it a roadblock and caused delays, but with modern data visualization tools, real-time analytics by business users has become a reality.